Bike tax? No, we should pay bicyclists!

Over at the Oregon Economics Blog, OSU economics professor Patrick Emerson offers his take on the proposal by Rep. Wayne Krieger (R-Gold Beach) to tax bicycling:

Perhaps the stupidest public policy idea I have ever heard of is the proposed bike tax. It is not worth talking about the proposal itself as it is not going anywhere and is, as I think I mentioned, stupid. But what is interesting to me is that, in fact, the appropriate public policy is to subsidize bikes, not tax them.

Why? The negative externalities associated with bike riding: virtually none. Minimal wear and tear on roads, sometimes a slight slowdown in traffic and a extra line of paint for a bike lane. Positive externalities associated with bike riding: lots.

Read the rest at Emerson's blog.

There's more about the bike tax at BikePortland.

Comments

  • Buckman Res (unverified)
    (Show?)

    No special interest group ever wants a tax levied at them, especially one with the “holier than thou” attitude expressed by many of my fellow cyclists.

    This tax is a very good idea whose time has come. As President Obama said we are all going to be asked to sacrifice something and cyclists are no exception.

    The tax could go towards much needed education and licensing that will raise consciousness among cyclists who now are either ignorant of traffic laws that apply to them or flaunt these laws out of a sense of entitlement.

    The law views cyclists as vehicles and it is time to treat them as such by demanding they pay their fair share of the infrastructure burden.

  • Jonathan Radmacher (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I think we should tax everyone who flies a kite. And everyone who walks to work, or the store.

    Oh yeah, we do tax them all -- income and property taxes. I pay generally the same (or more) vehicles taxes and fees as everyone else (except that as a bike commuter I use less gas, I suppose), and think it's stupid public policy to tax something we really want to encourage.

  • (Show?)

    Buckman Res,

    Wrong analysis, sorry, and the Economist blog is right. A tongue in cheek but effective letter to the Oregonian suggested a tax on pedestrians. After all, they use sidewalks (thus requiring infrastructure) and they jaywalk (thus violating traffic regulations).

    Gas tax is used to maintain roads which are overwhelmingly used by trucks and cars and are overwhelmingly damaged by trucks and cars.

    More people on bikes = LESS road maintenance = BETTER commerce = LESS time wasted in traffic jams.

  • George Anonymuncule Seldes (unverified)
    (Show?)

    The fellow who had a letter in the Oregonian had the right idea: he said that "Yes, you should tax bikes for the use of the road with a tax that applies to all vehicles. I suggest $1 per pound." Funny, the drones who keep bashing bikes never address that suggestion.

  • Aaron Cady (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Buckman, I think the thesis is that we are holier than thou, which I won't explain again. Not what you mean by it, but the thesis of this post, and what I was saying, is that it is a fairly apt metaphor.

    For those that don't know, you can peruse a back article by entering the url, http://www.blueoregon.com/yyyy/mm, where yyyy is the four digit year, and mm is the two digit month.

  • Eric Parker (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I say just do it and enact the tax and if the cyclysts have a problem with it, then I would suggest getting a lawyer to combat the tax.

    Unless you can afford to change it, you're no threat. Just shut up and live with it.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
    (Show?)

    You know what's the best thing bikes do for society? When you're down on the ground you notice every strip mall, zoning exception, secret dumping spot, rock-slinger, out of the way bistro, neighborhood bar and mom and pop store along the way. You're in touch. You have to think. You know what's going on in your community. It also saves you time. You will soon turn off the talking heads at 6, as you will see their latest critical update is not what is going on that is important to you in your community.

    That's about all I can manage to stammer. These last three thread topics are blowing me away.

    Chalk it up to my vertigo, and I really, really should know better, but can't resist asking...

    JK, isn't what I describe something that even you, well, you particularly, would find a benefit of cycling?

    Speaking of which, wait 'till Terry Parker shows up and you'll see that not all suggestions of a pedestrian tax are facestious! Probably was his letter to the ed.

  • JTT (unverified)
    (Show?)

    and they jaywalk

    There is no (statewide) law against jaywalking in Oregon.

  • Marco Pantani (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Thank you Buckman Res for providing the obligatory grumpy old man's "get-those-damn-bikes-off-the-roads" sentiment that actually inspired this bill.

  • joeb (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Fair share of the infrastructure burden? If $54 every two years is a fair share, then I suppose my licensed and insured vehicle that stays parked in the garage means I’m pulling my weight. But roads are subsidized by much more of my tax dollars than the gas tax and a $54 registration fee.

    This proposal is an ill-informed, unqualified opposition to a mode of transportation that is less destructive, less congestive and in many, if not most, cases a more legitimate option than a single occupant in a motor vehicle. Imagine if the fifteen bikes crowding the bike lane on the bridge approaching downtown Portland during rush hour were fifteen cars in the lane in front of you. How many city blocks would it take up if 18,000 bike riders drove around downtown every day looking for parking?

    I understand that bikes can be frustrating to drivers. I ride lawfully to attempt to reduce contentions, but with the number of bikes, I feel safer riding in Portland than driving. When navigating these streets on a bike is so much smoother than in a car, it indicates to me that congestion is the real frustration.

    Those in opposition to bikes, as the authors of this proposal are, should saddle up and enjoy as they gain some perspective. Note: I’m not objecting to paying a bike tax for myself. I object to the apparent intent of this proposal to put up an obstacle to biking. It is not good.

  • Scott in Damascus (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Funny how republicans like Mr Krieger support tax breaks for Hummers (the vehicle, not the act) for businesses yet now feign faux outrage over the unfair tax advantage that bicyclist enjoy. What a load of crap.

    In fact, I estimate that a single set of snow tires does more damage to the highways in Oregon in a single season than 1,000 bicycles in 10 years.

  • (Show?)

    Government can affect behavior by offering tax breaks or levying taxes. It has an interest to do so. The cost of cars, as I wrote yesterday, isn't being paid by drivers. One way to offset some of these costs is getting people out of their cars, and an incentive to ride bikes like Patrick suggests is exactly what government should be doing. Taxing the behavior you want to promote is idiotic, full stop.

  • Marco Pantani (unverified)
    (Show?)

    In the spirit of bipartisan cooperation, Democrats should counter-propose to Krieger the idea of registration and biannual licensing fees for firearms.

    Let's see how open minded he is to that revenue stream.

  • SF (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Obviously the "OSU economics professor" has never biked in, say, east multnomah county. Maybe if he had to bike on clumps of dirt next to a paved road with mud puddles or on springwater trail east of 50th street at dark he would realize that a tax on bikes could raise revenue for more than just "paint on the road." It could pay for paving bike lanes (oh and painting them too) and a bike cop to patrol springwater trail.

    I'm one biker who would be happy to pay a tax if it meant I could ride through less mud puddles or sections of springwater trail that are covered with graffiti and smell like urine.

  • (Show?)

    "Maybe if he had to bike on clumps of dirt next to a paved road with mud puddles or on springwater trail east of 50th street at dark he would realize that a tax on bikes could raise revenue for more than just "paint on the road." It could pay for paving bike lanes (oh and painting them too) and a bike cop to patrol springwater trail."

    Not likely. Using it as revenue has not worked in other cities. It's only worked to pay for theft monitoring and recovery, and at MUCH lower rates.

    If the registration is enacted, let's be fair and charge cars the same rate based on the value of the property--say about $3,000 every two years. Sound good?

  • Ms Mel Harmon (unverified)
    (Show?)

    No one seems to be able to answer me when I've asked, so maybe proponents of this idea can do so here:

    How would this be enforced?

    You're a cop, driving down the road and see a bicyclist up ahead, wearing their helmet, pedaling along. How do you know if this cyclist is over 16 or not? Answer: You can't until you've pulled alongside them and taken a closer look at them.

    Also, given that we're cutting police, they barely have time to deal with infractions by car drivers. But we're going to ask them to police the bicycles as well?

    Bottom line, if this passed (which I highly doubt), few will actually obey the new rules to register their bikes, as they know enforcement will be non-existent.

  • (Show?)

    The Oregon economics blog is wrong about the externalities associated with bicycling.

    As a (semi) avid jogger and bicyclist, one thing I'd like to see are wider roads in rural counties. Another is more money for removing gravel and other debris from the edges of roads where bikes and joggers tend to travel.

    I've met with Rep. Krieger and asked him to consider amending the bill to remove the bi-annual fee and make it a one-time fee of $58, which he seems amenable to.

    Subsequent bikes under the current version of the bill will cost just $1 to register, and people under the age of 18 are exempted from the requirement.

    I'd encourage people to review the bill and make up their own minds, but I can't help but suspect that the reaction from some folks in the bicycling community would have been more reasonable if the bill had been put forward by a Portland or Lane County Democrat.

    I feel compelled to remind people that the state's budget is going to be 20 percent down in the next biennium, and if people want services, they should try and to be part of the solution when it comes to figuring out how to pay for them.

  • (Show?)

    "I feel compelled to remind people that the state's budget is going to be 20 percent down in the next biennium, and if people want services, they should try and to be part of the solution when it comes to figuring out how to pay for them."

    I feel compelled to remind people that bikes are a ridiculous source to mine, given that they're a net benefit on society, rather than a net cost. Raising the gas tax a couple of cents would raise far more than this misguided trojan horse ever would. And it irks me Sal, with respect, that you continue to dismiss very reasonable disagreement as some kind of ideological blinder. The facts are that mandatory registration hasn't ever worked as a revenue generator. Because it doesn't.

  • (Show?)

    TJ - Please feel free to link to any statistics that support your claim. In the absence of such hard data, I'm inclined to wait until the fiscal comes out for the final bill and re-evaluate based on actual data.

    Again, if you want services (as I do), you should be prepared to pay for them. It costs money to make roads wider to accommodate bikes -- and here I'm talking about just putting a shoulder on a road, not even a separate bike lane. It costs money to clean bike lanes and road shoulders of debris more often.

    Spend some time riding in Yamhill County, and you'll probably agree that we need more money for these things.

  • (Show?)

    TJ - Please feel free to link to any statistics that support your claim. In the absence of such hard data, I'm inclined to wait until the fiscal comes out for the final bill and re-evaluate based on actual data.

    Again, if you want services (as I do), you should be prepared to pay for them. It costs money to make roads wider to accommodate bikes -- and here I'm talking about just putting a shoulder on a road, not even a separate bike lane. It costs money to clean bike lanes and road shoulders of debris more often.

    Spend some time riding in Yamhill County, and you'll probably agree that we need more money for these things.

  • (Show?)

    TJ - Please feel free to link to any statistics that support your claim. In the absence of such hard data, I'm inclined to wait until the fiscal comes out for the final bill and re-evaluate based on actual data.

    Again, if you want services (as I do), you should be prepared to pay for them. It costs money to make roads wider to accommodate bikes -- and here I'm talking about just putting a shoulder on a road, not even a separate bike lane. It costs money to clean bike lanes and road shoulders of debris more often.

    Spend some time riding in Yamhill County, and you'll probably agree that we need more money for these things.

  • (Show?)

    TJ - Please feel free to link to any statistics that support your claim. In the absence of such hard data, I'm inclined to wait until the fiscal comes out for the final bill and re-evaluate based on actual data.

    Again, if you want services (as I do), you should be prepared to pay for them. It costs money to make roads wider to accommodate bikes -- and here I'm talking about just putting a shoulder on a road, not even a separate bike lane. It costs money to clean bike lanes and road shoulders of debris more often.

    Spend some time riding in Yamhill County, and you'll probably agree that we need more money for these things.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Let's see: no cars at all on the roads would mean that no gasoline is being sold, which would mean no gasoline taxes being collected, which would mean nothing to pay for roads. So the no-car, all-bicycle nirvana would have completely unmaintained roads. This transportation nirvana would be something like...uh...the People's Republic of China 30 years ago, perhaps? Well, maybe we're going to wind up there anyway when the economy heats up eventually and the cost of oil skyrockets before the oil finally runs out.

    Government can affect behavior by offering tax breaks or levying taxes. It has an interest to do so. The cost of cars, as I wrote yesterday, isn't being paid by drivers. One way to offset some of these costs is getting people out of their cars, and an incentive to ride bikes like Patrick suggests is exactly what government should be doing. Taxing the behavior you want to promote is idiotic, full stop.

    That last line in Mr. Alworth's statement is rather analogous to the standard GOP justification for cutting taxes on the wealthy: the wealthy are, they claim, the folks who make investments that wind up employing other folks, so taxing the wealthy for their alleged beneficial behavior--investing--is counter-productive. Right? Right?

    I'm happy to pay a small fee for my bicycle. All taxes are membership dues for belonging to society. Bicyclists are no less members than anyone else.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
    (Show?)

    It could pay for paving bike lanes (oh and painting them too) and a bike cop to patrol springwater trail."

    I'll take the hard core position and say that you wouldn't need a cop on the Spring Creek Trail (which we do) if it wasn't the county line between a county taking care of business and one neglecting it. Bottom line, that prob is a symptom of a lack of funding from Clackamas county.

    Well said, Jeff. Though taxing the other kind of hummers- I assume you mean people that humm obnoxiously and not the birds- might not be a bad idea. As you note, there are behaviors we want to promote and those we want to discourage!

  • ChiefKillBold (unverified)
    (Show?)

    ......

  • vic (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Surprised to see this topic here. I've never heard of a progressive Democrat being against any tax or fee increase that I can remember...?

    Of course bikes should be taxed. DUH! Do it via a license fee that could be taken away for DUI's and other violations.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Note that progressives here are unthinkingly using the standard Republican framing of taxation issues--a bicycle fee would "penalize" the "worthy" among us--as well as fulminating in faux populist us vs. them terms. Nothing about the citizen's responsibility to maintaining the commonwealth....

  • (Show?)

    I live in east county where on most roads bike lanes are non-existent. And with a budget that can't even keep up with major maintenance on streets and required sidewalks, bike lanes aren't happening anytime soon unless there is some funding for it.

    Maybe people in inner Portland where there are a lot of bike lanes take them for granted, but some of us live in areas where those lanes are few and far between. We'd love to see some funding to start expanding those lanes.

    While the amount may be wrong, I don't see why it is wrong to require bikes get a registration and have that fee go towards services for bike riders. It's something I've brought up here plenty of times.

    None of us wants to pay a tax on the things we enjoy, but sometimes when funding is short, there isn't a choice if you want funding to be available. Sure, it would be great if we could afford to do more to encourage people to ride their bikes more - and expanding bike lane access would indeed do that. But in the economic times we're in now, it's just not a reality to subsidize bikes right now. Not when people don't have a place to live, have food to eat, etc.

  • Ms Mel Harmon (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I'll ask again, how would enforcement work? Do we have the manpower (and the willigness) to enforce this if it was enacted? If not, passing a law to register/tax bikes if a non-starter anyway.

  • (Show?)

    I've never heard of a progressive Democrat being against any tax or fee increase that I can remember...?

    Are you stupid? Do you have amnesia? Or are you just a dittohead?

    Let's see here... Just on BlueOregon in the last 60 days, we've had progressive Democrats oppose beer taxes and sales taxes. We've also had progressive Democrats support income tax cuts for low-income people and payroll tax cuts. And in 2006, we had a bunch of progressive Democrats arguing against higher tobacco taxes.

    Go away, dittohead.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
    (Show?)

    How are you going to enforce this?

    Unlike auto licenses, any license on a bike would be necessarily invisible to anything but a close-up inspection.

    If the purpose of the license is simply to collect revenue, and the only possible enforcement would be a close-up inspection by the local police force, you've just turned cops into tax collectors. There's an efficient use of resources in tough economic times!

    A car with expired or no tags is easy to spot. On a bike it would be impossible to tell the difference.

    Because it's impossible to enforce, most people will just ignore it, and it won't raise enough money to pay for itself, much less bring in enough to buy a mocha for the person in charge of the new layer of bureaucracy necessary to administer it.

    This is simply a silly idea generated by reactionaries who are aggravated by some cyclists --krieger himself revealed as much in his interview at Bikeportland.org-- and it's supported by a lot people who simply haven't thought it through.

    Easier to enforce would be biannual licenses for baby strollers. You could hang a nice big license on those suckers. And Oregon is chalk full of 'em.

  • mac mccown (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I'll take the hard core position and say that you wouldn't need a cop on the Spring Creek Trail (which we do) if it wasn't the county line between a county taking care of business and one neglecting it. Bottom line, that prob is a symptom of a lack of funding from Clackamas county.

    i would be most interested in any factual data you might have Zarathustra to support this position. how much more is multnomah county paying then clackamas county ... pray tell. why do i suspect you are indulging in a bit of petulant finger pointing?

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
    (Show?)

    The top-10 other ideas for things the state should be tracking and taxing via registration and licensing:

    <h1>10. Travel mugs</h1> <h1>9. Pet carriers</h1> <h1>8. Anything with rhinestones</h1> <h1>7. Kites</h1> <h1>6. Yo-yos *license required only when the yo-yo is actually moving up or down the string.</h1> <h1>5. Bad attitudes</h1> <h1>4. New entries in Sam Adams' little black book</h1> <h1>3. Those paper sunglasses the optometrist gives you after dilating your pupils</h1> <h1>2. Croc pots</h1>

    And the #1 thing government should register and license ... cranky old legislators with really dumb ideas

  • (Show?)

    Obviously enforcement is going to be an issue. If for that price on a car we get a license plate, why can't cyclists get something similar?

    Is there nowhere else that does this - not just here in the U.S., but also in Europe?

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
    (Show?)

    If I'm wrong, then it is petulant finger pointing. That was my perception, using the trail. Is it's inaccurate, please explain why all the problems are on one side of a narrow trail, at least that's how it seems to me. I mean, I see things built and mainted in on the MC side, but nothing on the other. If there is equal funding, how is it spent?

    I live on the border of P'land and Gresham and, like Jenni, am conscious of the funding cut-off line, and it has reinforced those previous perceptions of the SCT.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Because putting an 8"x12" license on my bike is not practical. Really, this bit of common sense requires an explanation? Lord help us.

  • conspiracyzach (unverified)
    (Show?)

    How about a idiot politician tax? Every time a politician comes up with a really idiotic idea they will be sent before the Citizens' Idiocy Determination Board and if they are found guilty they can be fined 1,000 dollars. If this proposal passes I think Kulongoski will be living in a cardboard box.

  • (Show?)

    I don't remember saying that it would have to be an 8"x12" license plate. It's pretty obvious that wouldn't fit. Which is why I said SOMETHING SIMILAR, not that they get the exact same thing.

    Cars have large license plates so they can be read by police and such when cars are flying by at high rates of speed. As such, there are very large letters. They're also bigger than they have to be to just have the letters and the stickers.

    Why can't the letters on a bike one be small, allowing the plate to be small?

  • Jiang (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Right on, Kari. That has to be the most out-dated, stupid thing the Reps keep repeating. Let's get this clear, for anyone that isn't following.

    Some taxes are necessary for a well run society. If one party is always against taxes, guess who has to always be proposing them? If you refuse to clean the gutters on your side of the street, waiting for unicorns to dig the leaves out and puppy dogs to carry the refuse away, when your neighbor from across the street comes over and cleans out your gutters, is that because he loves cleaning storm gutters? The Reps like to talk about shame; they should have some.

    I won't speak for Dems, but progressives are cheap. We don't support any tax until we have micofine detail about it's implentation and how implementation will be monitored. That's just common sense, and it's what most people do. Blanket labels are for disputational purposes only, and have little or no reality. (I love it when I use a word the spell checker doesn't know).

    Americans pay less taxes than any first world country. We're in deeper, as a result. Continuing to purposely erode infrastructure for the sake of idealogy is un-American.

    Quality of life is the bottom line, and the world verdict is that there is a strong positive correlation between self-identified life satisfaction and progressive taxation. I can tell you, as someone that has lived in low tax countries, like the US, and high tax countries, like the Netherlands, that you have more discretionary spending money leftover in the high tax scenario. You never calculate in the savings if the phone compnay, the long distance provider, and the electric company and the banks and the internet provider and the cable company weren't all ripping you off. When your tax dollars go to subsidize those things 50% and you get a combo bill for $149 for the month- for all that- the $25 tax on cars in the city center isn't very odious.

    About registration... Taxation aside, there is a definite difference in psychology, when you are identifiable. It's kind of a "take the rough with the smooth" deal, if cyclist want equal treatment, then that's part of it. Again, it's back to the point. We'd gladly pay some nominal amount a year, IF we could see how it went toward something worthwhile. It's not a knee-jerk reaction to love being taxed.

  • conspiracyzach (unverified)
    (Show?)

    This bike tax would increase off road riding. The militant trail defending pedestrians there will end up in fist fights with the new wave of tax avoiding mountain bikers seeking natural short cuts. Have you ever faced a eco elitist pedestrian nazi type swinging a log at you while biking through the woods ? I have. Funny thing is most of these goons drive a Prius to get to the trailhead for their eco hike. Also, we all know mountain biking off road contributes to the dreaded environmental cataclysm known as GLOBAL WHINING.

  • zoomber (unverified)
    (Show?)

    conspiracyzach speaks as a voice of experience...

    I've had similar encounters, but it was a polite caution about switch-backs, which was totally warranted. Going up Mt. Tabor I usually get polite enquiries about the condition fo my bike or health.

    You're right about many being sanctimonious hypocrites, but it doesn't mean they're wrong. I freely admit to using the odd golf course as a short cut, with great relish, but I think the point about our integrating into the mainstream, for that respect, is well taken.

  • vic (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Kari - "Let's see here... Just on BlueOregon in the last 60 days, we've had progressive Democrats oppose beer taxes and sales taxes. We've also had progressive Democrats support income tax cuts for low-income people and payroll tax cuts. And in 2006, we had a bunch of progressive Democrats arguing against higher tobacco taxes."

    ooooh your list is impressive! Pulleeze. How much income taxes do low income people pay?

    The majority of progressive Democrats are hard pressed to find any new tax, fee increase they oppose. You are like vultures hovering over a dead body (The USA Economy) waiting to pick off little pieces (taxes) of a dead carcass.

    Eventually, China will stop buying our debt, and your big government utopian dream will be laughed at - just like your stupid ass blog picture.

  • (Show?)

    vic:

    When I got laid off and we were on food stamps, I paid more in state income tax than big corporations did - almost $800 as compared to their $10.

    Not to mention property taxes. Unless they are homeless, they're paying income taxes either directly or through their rent.

    Live in a state with a sales tax? More taxes.

    So yes, low income people do pay taxes - even income taxes.

  • (Show?)

    And I should point out that was laid off without unemployment benefits, as I was a contract worker. So the only income we had was what my husband brought it, which barely covered the basics. We had both food stamps and WIC. And yes, we were definitely low income.

  • conspiracyzach (unverified)
    (Show?)

    zoomber, Thanks for sharing. I have never owned a car and never will. I have friends who do. They should not be persecuted or fitted with GPS because they drive. To each his own. The bike ID card would be a "smart" rfid card I am sure. In my view the bike tax is just a way for fascist govt. types to extend g.p.s. to bikes. If they refuse to carry them they can be pulled over and then brutalized. Extreme yes, but just because the police have not shot you before and covered it up does not mean it can't happen. It happened to me. That's what Government Gone Wild is all about. Happy riding. See you on the CLOSED trails. And, no I do not wear a bike helmet and never will. They are for nerds and people who plan on being hit.

  • zull (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I'd LOVE it if they subsidized bicyclists! Maybe they could do the same for pedestrians?

    Oh wait. Pedestrians get crapped on by drivers AND bikers. Nevermind.

  • Rassilon of Gallifrey (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Posted by: zull | Mar 11, 2009 5:23:05 PM

    I'd LOVE it if they subsidized bicyclists! Maybe they could do the same for pedestrians?

    Oh wait. Pedestrians get crapped on by drivers AND bikers. Nevermind.

    Believe it or not, the progressive thinkers doing it are equally pissed at whoever is rude, regardless of modality. Could we stop the group stereotyping?

  • (Show?)

    Why do I have the Beatles "Taxman" song running through my head all of a sudden?

  • JohnH (unverified)
    (Show?)

    You have to applaud Republicans for creativity--proposing that bikers pay more ($54) than corporations ($10). The typical result of a deranged mindset that coddles corporations and penalizes people!

    I can just see it now--cops hauling in 5 year olds and their bikes in tax evasion sweeps! That should get Republicans back in control of Salem real soon!

  • Terry Parker (unverified)
    (Show?)

    There is an extreme amount of excessive hot air oratory being passed by bicyclists that includes a lengthy bicycle babble want list as long as somebody other than bicyclists themselves pay for all the demands on that list. Hardcore bicyclists are your basic freeloaders many times over expecting somebody else to fund their lifestyles like mommy and daddy did before they reached the age of adulthood. Bicyclists want all the cake they can get, but don’t want those who they expect to pay for that silver platter delivery (in particular, motorists) to have any. That is called hypocrisy. If bicyclists want specialized infrastructure, the bicyclists themselves need to be willing to open up their own wallets and actually fund it themselves.

    Should bikes pay the exact same registration fee as cars? ABSOLUTELY – and the dollar amount of the registration fee also needs to be tied to any increases that might occur in the dollar amount of the registration fee for automobiles. Therefore if the cost to register a car goes up, then so does the cost to register a bike. Maybe then bicyclists would be less cocky in support of increasing fees on automobile owners if the fees also applied to them too. It is past time a public discussion took place about requiring bicyclists to pay their own way, including paying for parking in neighborhoods where parking meters are sited.

    Moreover, bicyclists often use the argument that motorists do not completely pay for the costs of driving and using the roads, and then in the same breath, put forward just the opposite line of reasoning by suggesting that because a bicyclist drives or owns a car, bicyclists are already paying their fair share. The first argument conflicts and is contradictory to the second argument - a two-headed diversionary tactic just to confuse people because it can not be both ways.

    Moreover, there is a fiscal cost to providing, constructing and maintaining specialized bicycle infrastructure. Accepting only lip service from bicyclists, and not requiring them accept some responsibility by paying a registration fee or direct tax to fund all that special interest bicycle infrastructure is the real epitome of stupidity.

  • (Show?)

    Also worth considering is that the proposed bike registration fee would be equivalent to that of a car, and less than that of a motorcycle.Because, as we all know, bicycles have the same effect on infrastructure as motor vehicles. Additionally, it applies to every single bicycle that rides on any public road in the state, not just commuters.

  • mp97303 (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Just curious since an issue of it has been brought up, how much in income taxes do households with NO taxable income pay in Oregon?

  • Steve (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Tax bikes, but dedicate the revenues to paying for bike-exclusive improvements like lanes and green boxes and racks.

    As far as the bicyclists pay taxes already, they do not pay gas taxes at $0.50/gal, which at 1000 gal/year = $500. We are only asking for $54/2yrs or 5% of that.

    As far as taxing something we want to encourage - Hate to break it to you, but explain to me why we have an income tax if we want people to work?

    I mean we license scooters which are a min wear-and-tear on roads, so why not bikes? We can all share the pain.

  • mp97303 (unverified)
    (Show?)

    How about a bike tax for people who make over $250,000?

  • Buckman Res (unverified)
    (Show?)

    ”Government can affect behavior by offering tax breaks or levying taxes. It has an interest to do so.”

    Herein lies a fundamental philosophical difference concerning taxes.

    Ideally taxation should be based on fairness that promotes an equal investment in the system by all citizens. Taxation should not be a cudgel used to promote “good behavior” by moralists who see themselves as superior to their neighbors, or by placing a disproportionate burden on those “who can afford it” as determined by those same moralists.

    Unfortunately we’re not likely to see a fair, equitable flat tax anytime soon so we’ll all have to live with the status quo where everyone’s ox gets gored as government demands more and more revenue. That includes us cyclists.

    Funny how un-progressive people get when a tax hits them.

  • ws (unverified)
    (Show?)

    "Moreover, there is a fiscal cost to providing, constructing and maintaining specialized bicycle infrastructure." T Parker

    Well, here's a way to eliminate part of the need for providing, constructing and maintaining specialized bicycle infrastructure: for example instead of making specialized bike infrastructure along the freeway, just give to bikes, a lane currently being used by motor vehicle. Make this an express lane for bikes.

    Three bikes could probably ride abreast in one of those lanes. Six or more bikes could probably ride along in the space a car or larger vehicle takes up on the highway. Such a lane could move hundreds more bikes than it does cars or other larger vehicles.

    Allow any bike owner that wants to ride in such an express lane the right to do so with special registration and payment of a fee. Their proof of registration would be a number like riders in tours and races use, except it would also have a readable bar code that attendants could use to verify payment.

    For the return it would provide, this seems like a lot of trouble to me, but if it would help beleaguered motor vehicle people feel better, maybe ideas like this are something to think about.

    Bikes on the street represent a car not on the road, or a seat on mass transit available to someone else. Bikes have been saving overwhelmed motor vehicle infrastructure's bacon for decades. You don't kill the goose if you have any intention of geting more golden eggs.

  • (Show?)

    I'd just like to point out that another proposal this session is to raise registration fees for cars. If both the bike proposal goes through at the suggested amount and the vehicle registration fee at a higher rate, cars and bikes will not be paying the same amount.

  • jaybeat (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Good grief, Charlie Brown! The signal to noise ratio on this topic is way out of whack! Can we at least agree on a few basic progressive principles? To wit:

    -Encouraging bicycle commuting and discouraging automobile commuting is sound public (aka "government"--ooooohhh!) policy. Drive less, save more, yada, yada. Benefits include less pollution, less greenhouse gas emissions, more compact development patterns (aka less sprawl), less traffic congestion, increased physical fitness (with anciliary benefits included reduced obesity and related health care costs), etc. Duh. -We (the people) have already embraced said policy through improved facilities for cyclists (bike lanes, trails, bike racks on transit, bike lockers, share the road awareness programs, etc.), and are enjoying the success of those policies through a high rate of cycle use. We do it, we like it, its working, great. No, the opinion is not held unanimously, but nothing is, and the overwhelming majority supports this and has for a long time. -Since we DO want to continue to support and encourage cycling with our public policy, it follows that we DON'T want to do anything that would have the OPPOSITE effect. Double duh. -IF we want to do MORE to encourage cycling that we do currently, we can certainly have a conversation about what we should do and how to fund it. But throwing that in when people are spouting nonsense like "making bikes pay their fair share" exposes it for the canard that it is. Ehhhhhhh. Sorry, but thanks for playing! -IF (and only if) someone is REALLY serious about having folks "pay their fair share" for damage to the roads, environment, etc. (of which there is absolutely no sign of, but just for giggles), then how about this:

    All things on public roads or sidewalks pay a weight-mile-person tax, not including the weight of the passenger(s). Add a surtax for vehicles with emissions, based on the amount of emissions per passenger/mile (or pound/mile of cargo, but not per pound/mile of vehicle). Vehicles that do not use fuel that comes from nasty foreign sources (aka petroleum), get a discount.

    Based on this, pedestrians are free. Bikes fees are based on the weight of the bike, but discounted based on zero-emissions and no fossil fuels. A 50 mpg Prius is good, but a 50 mpg TDI running B100 and carrying 3 carpool buddies is better. But worst? A Hummer taking one guy on his commute from Salem to PDX everyday. Lotsa weight + lotsa miles + lotsa pollution + lotsa fossil fuels = Lotsa tax. Discounts for real farmers and folks who live in rural areas (but not if they commute to the city for work).

    All of this has nothing to do with holier than thous or pots vs. kettles both covered in soot and everything to do with how do we incent the things that we the people believe will make our world a better place and discourage the things that we think will make things worse.

    It really isn't all that hard.

    During WWII we had all kinds of rationing and rules for what you could and couldn't have, buy, use or whatever. If anyone thinks things aren't as bad now as they were then, that the necessity for collective action for collective survival isn't as great now as it was then? Somebody better slap you upside the head but good and wake you up from that Ronnie Raygun daydream.

  • Terry Parker (unverified)
    (Show?)

    “Encouraging bicycle commuting and discouraging automobile commuting is sound public (aka "government"--ooooohhh!) policy. Drive less, save more, yada, yada.”

    Got that one wrong - it is pure social engineering – the management of human beings (through the application of taxation vs the distribution of subsidies with the absence of taxation) – not the institution of freedom this country was founded upon.

    “We (the people) have already embraced said policy through improved facilities for cyclists (bike lanes, trails, bike racks on transit, bike lockers, share the road awareness programs, etc.)”

    Got that one wrong too! We the people? More like we the socialists in control of the government (sometimes masquerading as progressives). No such policy has ever appeared on the a ballot of we the people . However, we the people, approximately 80 percent of we the people, a clear majority, vote everyday by driving cars and trucks. We the people are tired of subsidizing the freeloading pedal pushers with a socially engineered tax policy. Bicyclists need to be directly taxed. Moreover, it is not we the people, but the other we in the socialistic progressive movement where attempts are being made to replace a true democracy with social democracy – a political movement advocating a gradual transition from capitalism to socialism by democratic means - in other words, establishing government control over the lifestyle, housing and transportation choices of we the people as opposed the personal freedoms and choices we the people now have.

  • alcatross (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Kari says: Are you stupid? Do you have amnesia? Or are you just a dittohead?

    Kudos to you, Kari - for setting an example and promoting civil discourse here on BlueOregon.com

  • ws (unverified)
    (Show?)

    "However, we the people, approximately 80 percent of we the people, a clear majority, vote everyday by driving cars and trucks." T Parker

    That's not a vote. It's submission to a form of enslavement. What percentage of that 80 percent drive because they have no other choice? I'd guess, most of them. It's modern civilization's business model that forces that choice on them. The backers of that model and the automobile industry have played a bigger role in social engineering than supporters of the humble bicycle ever have.

  • (Show?)

    Alcatross -- I'm all for civil discourse, but I've lost my patience with people who show up here copying and pasting from Freeper sites. If your idea of brilliant commentary is Rush Limbaugh, just go away.

    Steve wrote: As far as the bicyclists pay taxes already, they do not pay gas taxes at $0.50/gal, which at 1000 gal/year = $500. We are only asking for $54/2yrs or 5% of that.

    Um, but Steve, plenty of bicyclists pay gas taxes too. The number of bicyclists who never, ever use a motorized vehicle is very, very, very small.

    But more to the point: At the risk of being stupidly repetitive, bicyclists don't spew carbon, and they don't damage the roads. And when they run into things, they don't cause nearly as much damage.

  • jk&tp,withextremepredjudice (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Great stereotypes terry parker, enviro terrorist! Mommy and daddy, eh? I kicked my father in the nuts and left home at 16. I have never kissed anyone's ass, which is why I have to ride a bike.

    The epitome of stupidity is a guy named Terry Parker that ran for a Metro position because he had to wait 10 seconds for a tri-met bus to pull to the curb and decided enough was enough.

    Please run again.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
    (Show?)

    it is pure social engineering – the management of human beings (through the application of taxation vs the distribution of subsidies with the absence of taxation) – not the institution of freedom this country was founded upon.

    Amen, Terry! Like not letting gentlemen settle their differences on the field of honor!!! Friggin' Nanny State. It created unnatural situations like this, where we have to have a conversation, and we both know we could have settled this nice, quick and to the social good by just having a duel. These people are wasting our lives!

    Saw a great bumper sticker you'd love, too. "My other car is hastening human extinction". The sweetest two word phrase in the language, no?

    Run, Terry, run!

  • (Show?)

    And a reminder that most local road funding isn't from gas taxes. It's from property taxes, etc.

    The highways are funded mainly through gas taxes, but they're not the main routes used by cyclists.

    The core of this post is about the positive externalities of cycling. We're talking about lower pollution, lower car traffic, less runoff, less global warming effects, lower health care costs, happier people (yes, those who exercise are happier), higher productivity at work, and so forth.

    So, fine, tax the bicyclists for infrastructure. As long as you pay out for all the benefits they're providing.

  • jj (unverified)
    (Show?)

    some wrote: "Because it's impossible to enforce, most people will just ignore it,"

    Hell no...I am going to PAY that tax, with relish...and then I am going to ride in the middle of the lane.

    Bike line? HAH! I paid for this road, dammit. It's MINE. I am going to USE it. Don't like the fact I ride at 10MPH? Too bad, sucker: I PAID the same license fee you did. Heck, I paid MORE than you did: I own a car in addition to my cargo bike. Oh, and when I find myself behind one of those bikes going 10mph, I am going to slow down to their speed. Don't like it? Tough: they paid for the road as well.

    You thought Critical Mass was annoying...on a Friday...at the end of the workday...imagine Critical Mass every day, on your way into work.

    Oh, and you wanna run me over? Lets see how your insurance company feels about you running over a legally riding bicyclist.

    So...lets recap: bike riders pay MORE taxes and we use less of the resources paid for by those taxes. We cause less wear and tear overall. We are asking for a single line of paint, some basic cleanup on the roads, and that folks not hit us while out driving their 5000lb SUVs.

    I have my checkbook ready and am ready to "pay my fair share"...if you are really that stupid.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Really Terry,

    Starting off your rather lengthy response -- which is filled with all the tired old talking points, a lot of "moreovers" and furthermores," but nothing new or enlightening -- by complaining that others are engaging in hot air oratory doesn't do much for your credibility.

    It's called self-awareness. Maybe you can purchase some with all those big brain smarts of yours, douche nozzle.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Thanks also, terry, for providing more proof that 99.9% of the people who support this are doing so because they have an axe to grind against cyclists mot because they are thoughtfully looking for new revenue sources for the state.

  • Terry Parker (unverified)
    (Show?)

    “And a reminder that most local road funding isn't from gas taxes. It's from property taxes, etc.”

    This is more of the propaganda and misinformation being spewed by the bicycling community. The majority of local road funding (and bicycle path/lane/infrastructure funding) still comes from the combined local, state and federal gas tax. The only exception is in urban renewal districts where tax increment funding, (property taxes assessed on the increased values of property within those districts) pays for all types of transportation projects. Although local transportation budgets such as PBOT’s may include a number revenue sources, generally hose other revenue sources are not used for local road building.

    Additionally. if there is any submission to a form of enslavement as WS inferred; it has been a silent majority of motorist submission to the lip service and mayhem of the arrogant, certainly not humble, freeloading bicyclist community, including tolerating motorist paid roadway dollars being poached to fund bicycle infrastructure.

  • Ms Mel Harmon (unverified)
    (Show?)

    The whole thing is mute anyway. Even if you pass a law registering bikes and putting tags on them (since that seems to be the only way to prove that that particular bike is licensed, yes?):

    1. Cops have too much to do now to worry about pulling over non-tagged bikes and then quizing the rider (by the way, we'll have to have bike rider licenses too or else the cops won't know who to ticket, right?) who may well turn out to be under the age limit required to have a license (since we're licensing bikes by the age of the driver and not by the bike itself). So, cops won't bother to "pull over" the untagged bikes because they are too understaffed to worry about it.

    2. You'd have rampant bike tag fraud because people with multiple bikes or friends who ride their bikes on different days will just switch the tags around from bike to bike as needed to be "legal".

    There simply is no way to enforce this on Oregon's actual roads right now. It may be an interesting and amusing conversational piece, but in reality this idea is DOA.

  • conspiracyzach (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Yeah. Lets tax the heck out of bikes. Why should car drivers pay anything. Lets give a 10,000.00 award to anyone caught drunk driving after hitting a biker.....blah , blah, blah. Kulongoski destroyed the schools so now tax junk-logic can take root. Where should we put the concentration camp for bikers ?

  • Steve (unverified)
    (Show?)

    “Um, but Steve, plenty of bicyclists pay gas taxes too. The number of bicyclists who never, ever use a motorized vehicle is very, very, very small.”

    Um, but Mr C, your number about how many bicyclist pay gas tax is just as much conjecture as my number.

    That is why the bicycle tax should be dedicated only to bike improvements. I can almost guarantee that 100% of the bike riders who pay taxes will use what they pay for if that is important to you.

    Think about it the more bikes the more improvements and the more bikes. It is an all-around win for bike riders who can now be guaranteed that their taxes will be used exclusively for bikes instead of wasted on cars.

  • Linda Garland (unverified)
    (Show?)

    When I heard about a possible bike tax, I thought...Excellent, they are going to pay taxes to people who ride their bikes and keep one less car off the road.

    I was astounded that Gold Beach public servant made the suggestion to the contrary.

    I hope this proposal goes nowhere fast. I wish we would see more bicycles out there to nod at when I am out there in my vehicle.

  • Joe Smith (unverified)
    (Show?)

    $58 per biennium strikes me as a bit steep, but I've felt for thirty+ years that bikes should be licensed (for an appropriate fee), in significant part because it would help address the problem of bicycle theft. If every bike had to be licensed, and the license was recorded with reference to a well-engraved serial number, 'twould make resale of stolen bikes significantly more difficult, at least for the amateurs.
    The presence of a current license would also solve the enforcement problem on collecting the fee. For what it's worth, I was commuting to work via bicycle in 1969.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Posted by: Joe Smith | Mar 12, 2009 10:37:08 PM

    $58 per biennium strikes me as a bit steep, but I've felt for thirty+ years that bikes should be licensed (for an appropriate fee), in significant part because it would help address the problem of bicycle theft. If every bike had to be licensed, and the license was recorded with reference to a well-engraved serial number, 'twould make resale of stolen bikes significantly more difficult, at least for the amateurs

    You grossly underestimate just how much the PPB don't give a shit. There was a guy that lived in the complex that used to run up to the local grade school and nick a bike about every day. Was kind of obvious, and the manager called the police. That day, as luck would have it, he had come back with a police bike, no question. He took the precaution of leaving it a few feet from his apartment.

    The police took the bike, accepted his word he didn't know how it got there, investigated none of the parts all about- some with serial numbers- didn't check back, and the guy was again ripping the grade school the day after.

    Anyone that rides regularly has had the experience of a car swerving to hit you, a cop sitting there sees it, you complain, and you always get, "What? He didn't hit you!".

    Turn all enforcement over to turds-for-brains Terry Parker and you'll get no less service than you do from the PPB on bike issues!

    Speaking of TFB, how about full disclosure, like "I used to work at the Hummer dealership on 12th before I became unemployed. Ever bike I see is a lost commission. I have worshiped cars all my life, taught high school auto shop, etc." It's not going to fly, your promoting the idea that you're just joe average expressing what the silent majority feel about bike commuters. As already stated, you are great ammo though. People dragging their feet on funding always start with, "of course everyone would like to see more bikes and less cars on the road...", and you can say, "oh, no, no, no...meet Terry Parker, Richard-less Wonder and James Karschlock!"

  • conspiracyzach (unverified)
    (Show?)

    The Eugene Weekly blog has a new post by Alan Pittman showing how the schools are already putting RFID chips on kids to get them ready for this new bike tax. It is presented as a happy story and is ominous.

  • james burke (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Seriously...Bike tax? Where has common sense gone. Biking provides an enormous benefit to our society in so many ways: 1) lower medical costs. The benefits of daily exercise (to numerous to explain here) have an incredible impact on the healthcare system. Want to compare what the cost of healthcare is for those conditions associated with obesity and inactivity, to the benefit of a bike tax? Healthier people also have higher productivity and fewer sick days. 2) Lower cost for road repair. Encourage biking, and as mentioned before, even subsidize it. More cars off the road means less road damage. Wan't to save money on road repair? Lose the studs. Snow tires are just as effective. How about a cost to benefit subsidy analysis on this. LeShwab would be happy to assist. 3) Benefits to the environment. The environmental cost of vehicles, in terms of climate change, and the toxic chemicals they leak onto the ground, and eventually into the surrounding ecosystem, cannot even be quantified. 4) Biking is contagious. It brings a sense of charm and vibrance to the community, and inspires others to do the same. People outside of thier cars and on the streets bring community and quality of life to Bend, and it is part of what makes this a special place to live.
    If Bend needs more funding, the salaries of the politicians that came up with this bicycling tax might be a good place to look. Since they don't seem to understand the community in which they live, we could probably do better without them.

  • Kip (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Folks, this bill is going nowhere. It's CONservative crap at it's finest.

  • Another Stupid Parker (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Posted by: Kip | Mar 14, 2009 4:26:31 PM

    Folks, this bill is going nowhere. It's CONservative crap at it's finest.

    That's why we like it! And I notice all these smart Dems approached it like a possum eatin' shit with a spoon. Do you suppose it was for the publicity?

    Thanks, Dems!

  • Treefriend (unverified)
    (Show?)
    <h2>Here we go again. Lazy slob cagers trying to bring down their betters, the cyclists. I will pay a tax gladly if, AND ONLY IF ALL the money is used for a seperate, paved trail system that does not allow cars. You grunting cagers need to be thanking me and all my fellow cyclists at every opportunity. Don't blame us because you have become out of shape slobs. Get off your doughy asses and get on your bikes. The day will come when you are no longer allowed to pollute our air. It is long over due. What makes you idiots think you have the right to dirty up the air the rest of us breath? When they ban all gas powered vehicles then I will pay a tax. Until the, weakling drivers, pay your road taxes, drive your fat asses everywhere, and shaddapp!</h2>
elsewhere

connect with blueoregon